Thursday, January 2, 2014

Is Ultimate Spider-Man Coming to an End?

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man 1

Spider-Man has several incarnations, and one of the ones that got a lot of attention is Miles Morales, the black/Latino teenager who took over the Spidey-Suit in Brian Michael Bendis’s Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man, after the death of Peter Parker.

Now Bendis is hinting that the series has run its course. In response to a question from a reader on his Tumblr about whether he would have another Marvel book, he replied,

Well, now that ultimate comics: Spiderman is done I might have to find something else to fill that space in my life :-(

But did he mean it? it’s true that at the Ultimate Marvel Panel in San Diego, nobody said attempted to dispel rumors that the Ultimates line was drawing to a close, and in fact the big announcement at that panel was of the event titled Cataclysm: The Ultimates Last Stand. Some folks think that the Ultimates comics will wind up with the Survive event next spring.

The Ultimates comics are in a separate universe than the regular Marvel characters, and it is possible that even if Ultimate Comics Spider-Man comes to an end, Miles Morales will live on in the regular continuity.

Is Ultimate Spider-Man Coming to an End? is a post from: E-Reader News

Smart Watches to Make a Big Splash at CES 2014


CES is occuring next week and Good e-Reader will be live on the scene covering all of the latest news, previews and industry wide coverage. Wearable tech is poised to be one of the biggest aspect of the show. Intel, Samsung, LG, Freescale and others will all be showing off various tech for this hot new segment.

According to Juniper Research, retail revenue from smart wearable devices will reach $19 billion by 2018 compared with $1.4 billion in 2013. The firm also projects that sales of smart wearable devices will approach 130 million units by 2018, which is 10 times higher than estimated to sell in 2013.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said he is launching a full scale assault on wearable tech with their new Quark chip. Krzanich said he has been accelerating Intel’s shift toward ultra-mobile processors, the hardware unveiled at CES won’t ship until April at the earliest.

Freescale is working on the The WaRP platform that is engineered to unleash design creativity for multiple vertical segments in the wearables market such as sports monitors, smart glasses, activity trackers, smart watches and healthcare/medical applications.

Archos is showing off a new smartwatch that will have a lean and thin design similar to products from Pebble, and will be compatible with Apple's iOS and Google's Android OS devices, Archos said in a statement. It is set to cost only $83 US.

ZTE is going to introduce their first smartwatch, called BlueWatch, which has a built-in pedometer and tethers to a smartphone via Bluetooth, enabling you to control calls, photography, and social media from your wrist.

Sony according to a FCC filing seems to indicate we should expect another smartwatch very soon. It's supposed to be equipped with NFC and Bluetooth, and has been described as a "Bluetooth Wrist Notifier." The Sony CEO will be doing a keynote on the first day of CES, and we will let you know if they unveil it or not.

Smart Watches to Make a Big Splash at CES 2014 is a post from: E-Reader News

Books to Movies, a look back at 2013

books-to-movies-1I've noticed a theme in Hollywood lately, and it's an interesting one. More and more novels are being turned into major motion pictures.  I don't know if Hollywood got tired of writing their own stuff, or if someone woke up one day and realized, "Hey, there's already a plethora of good stories out there just waiting to be movies!"

Either way, I'm enjoying the heck out of it. Sure, some of them are horrible (we won’t mention names), but others are truly great on the big screen.

2013 saw a whole lot of movies based on books—too many, in fact, for me to list here. So, instead, I've picked several that I was (and am still) pleased with the cinematic outcome.

I'll follow up this post with another that lists some upcoming movies for 2014 that I'm excited about, so stay tuned.

  1. Carrie by Stephen King: Stephen King's debut novel has been made into a movie before, but was rebooted in 2013. Steven King is good—very good, and the movie wasn't too shabby either. It's interesting to revisit King's first novel. I'm sure he had no idea he'd ever make it so big.
  2. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card: This is one of my favorite books, so I was pretty excited to see the movie.  My wife actually liked the film better than the book, and I only had a few minor problems with it. Both are pretty good, and well worth your time (even if the book is better—sorry, Amanda).
  3. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien: The Hobbit is the book that got me into reading and made me want to write. It pushed me toward where I am today professionally, and gave me the drive to write my own book (which I hope to see on a list like this in the future). The first movie (An Unexpected Journey) was entertaining, but not great. The second movie (Desolation of Smaug) is better.  Anything above a 7 on IMDB is a pretty decent score, and ol' Smaug is currently sitting at 8.3.  If you haven't read the book, you should—it was instrumental in creating the entire fantasy genre as we know it today.  There and Back Again (the third movie) should be arriving in December of 2014, and I can't wait.
  4. Horns by Joe Hill: This one isn't as popular, but the movie certainly paints Daniel Radcliffe (a.k.a. Harry Potter) in a new light. Both the book and movie have been met with fairly positive reviews, and this book has just made my wish list. The premise is weird and new.  I like that.
  5. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins: This is a case where the movie was actually a little bit better than the book (in my humble opinion). That being said, I think reading the book added a lot to my enjoyment of the film. The novel is insanely popular, and highly rated, and the movie is just adding to the fervor (8.1 on IMDB with 146,413 ratings). Part 1 of the Mockingjay movie (I have no idea why this is a two-parter) should arrive in November of 2014, so be on the lookout!
  6. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton: Yeah, I know the movie came out in 1993, but you know what?  It's awesome, and they re-released it in 3D back in April. The book is pretty darn good too, and if you haven't read it yet, you should. It's completely different from the movie, and will shed some new light on Alan Grant's dinosaur problem. Suddenly, I'm craving green Jell-O.
  7. Percy Jackson and The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan: OK, if you've only seen the movie, you need to go out and get the book. The movie only really shines when Nathan Fillion (lord of the nerds) is on screen, and that scene is entirely too short. The book series, on the other hand, is actually a blast to read.
  8. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion: I absolutely loved this movie, and it inspired me to read the book. I liked the movie just a hair better, but I'm told that's typical. If you read the book first, you like it better. If you watch the movie first, that's what you'll prefer. Either way, the book is definitely worth picking up.
  9. World War Z by Max Brooks: The book was pretty entertaining (though lacking in female characters), and so was the movie (though it's completely different from the book). The book was tightly written, and almost seemed a plausible response to an actual zombie plague. I enjoyed listening to it (the audiobook is great), and with the massive-budget movie release earlier this year, there is still plenty of interest to go around.

What was your favorite book-to-movie in 2013? Did we miss any on the list? Let us know on the comments section below.


Quinton Lawman is a Technical Writer at OverDrive.


How to use the Nook HD or HD+ Outside the USA


The Barnes and Noble Nook HD and HD+ have been fairly successful due to their e-reader first approach and low entry price point. You can only buy these in the USA or the UK. If you live outside of those two countries you will have a fairly difficult time getting yourself up and running. Today, we look at what you need to do to use the Nook HD and HD+ outside the USA or overseas.

Barnes and Noble requires that you use a USA billing/shipping address for any digital content that you buy on their ecosystem. This is fairly easy to circumvent because the company never sends anything to your mailing or billing address. All purchase confirmations are sent via email, so it is imperative that you use a working one. In order to setup an account you need a valid postal code. I recommend looking at public buildings, such as art galleries or libraries on Google and using those details.

Once you have your billing address entered into the system you need to enter a credit card. In most cases you can use your own credit card and you can purchase apps, books, magazines and other digital content. The only thing that is geographically restricted is Nook Video. No matter what you do, you won’t be able to watch television or movies directly from B&N.

Most Nationally issued credit cards still will not work with Barnes and noble, despite the fact they are totally valid. In this case, I recommend a USA billing and USA Giftcard combo from Shop e-Readers. This company gives you a proper and valid address and also the ability to load in the exact dollar amount you want to purchase. This will allow you to buy eBooks and everything else very easily.

Setting up your billing and credit card information is necessary when you are booting and setting your device up for the first time. Making sure you use a USA address is imperative to get past the setup screen and start playing around with your new device.

Barnes and Noble integrated Google Play into their tablet and if you want to bypass buying anything from the bookseller directly, all you need is a Google account. You can download Netflix or any other video on demand service and purchase eBooks from Kobo, Amazon, or a myriad of other companies.

How to use the Nook HD or HD+ Outside the USA is a post from: E-Reader News

Infographic – A Look at the GoodReads Social Community


GoodReaders has had a big year in 2013 and the company released a new infographic that chronicles all of their achievements.

Infographic – A Look at the GoodReads Social Community is a post from: E-Reader News

Top 5 Tech Gadgets of 2013


When it comes to consumer tech we review hundreds of devices each year and travel all over the world to different tradeshows and conventions. With so many devices on the market, it can quickly get overwhelming when you have to decide what gadget is right for you. Today, Michael and Peter from Good e-Reader give you their top 5 list on devices they use on a daily basis.

Top 5 Tech Gadgets of 2013 is a post from: E-Reader News

Mathematica and the Wolfram Language on Raspberry Pi: a guest post from Wolfram Research

Have you been staring at the Mathematica and Wolfram Language icons on your Raspbian install, and wondering where to get started? We’ll be featuring several guest posts from Wolfram Research in the coming weeks, so you can start to get to work with them. This first, introductory post is from Arnoud Buzing. Arnoud and the Wolfram team would welcome your feedback in the comments below; so would we. Let us know what you’d like to do with Mathematica and the Wolfram Language – it’ll help shape future posts from Wolfram.

A few weeks ago, on November 21st, we released the Wolfram Language and Mathematica for the Raspberry Pi. Just this past week, it’s become even easier to get the software since The Raspberry Pi Foundation began bundling Mathematica and the Wolfram Language directly with their standard NOOBS package and Raspbian operating system.

The responses to this pilot release have been overwhelmingly positive. It has been great to read tweets from educators, scientists, hobbyists and students all around the world, who are excited about using the Wolfram Language to explore the computational universe on their devices.

Today, Wolfram Research is perhaps most widely known for its computational knowledge engine called Wolfram|Alpha: for many students a website which makes short order of complicated homework problems by providing step-by- step solutions. But to create this website a great many problems had to be solved in a very general and systematic way. It only made sense then to build Wolfram|Alpha in the Wolfram Language.

This language differs from other computer languages in that it is very high level with built-in support for solving a very wide variety of computational problems. For over 25 years this language has grown from being able to compute with simple symbolic expressions to the computational knowledge engine it is today. And this feature of making knowledge computable, as well as its powerful ability to create complex programs with very little code, makes it a great language to run on a Raspberry Pi. It also interfaces extremely well with the ‘outside world’ thanks to its large array of supported data collecting sensors and its GPIO. A few great user examples have already been shared on the Wolfram Community website and I would like to share them here with you.

A recent post from Diego shows how to cook your steak using your Raspberry Pi. In this post he writes a small mathlink wrapper to read thermocouple measurements, which he calibrated by using a LinearModelFit on three data points. All this is then hooked up to a controller which turns a crockpot on or off using DeviceWrite["GPIO",17->1] or DeviceWrite["GPIO",17->0].

Another post from Diego shows how you can connect a Wii Nunchuck via an Arduino Uno to Mathematica over a serial connection. First he opens a serial connection using serial=DeviceOpen["Serial", {"/dev/ttyACM0", "BaudRate"->57600}] and then he interfaces with the sketch running on his Arduino by sending a ping over that serial link and reading back the current Wii Nunchuck state using DeviceReadBuffer[serial].

Bob posted a cool example showing how you can write a simple stepper motor controller using the Wolfram Language. He defines a stepMotor function which takes three arguments: the number of steps, the direction and the step time delay.

There are several other simple examples that are worth checking out if you’re just getting started:




Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions with Excel!

Need a little extra help keeping your New Year's resolutions? Use Excel to track your goals!

Battle Not Over for Google’s Digitization Project

Eight years of legal battles to halt Google’s digitization project have not produced the results that some organizations have wanted, and therefore, the litigation will continue.

Only a matter of weeks ago, US Circuit Judge Denny Chin ruled that Google’s massive digitization project fell within the reasonable bounds of copyright and fair use, throwing out the copyright lawsuit brought about by Authors Guild. The group promised at the time to appeal Judge Chin’s ruling and is now moving forward with that appeal, having completed the necessary filings in the district court.

In Chin’s November decision, he not only dismissed the Authors Guild’s lawsuit, but praised Google for its efforts to preserve rare books and make privately held library collections available to worldwide readers through search. This praise did not come with any measure of bias, as Chin was the same judge who rejected the 2011 settlement terms between Google and a number of publishers, stating that the settlement would be “rewarding [Google] for engaging in wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission, while releasing claims well beyond those presented in the case.”

Another case brought about by the Authors Guild against several of the scanning groups working on Google’s project has already been determined by a different judge to be well within the bounds of fair use. The judge in that case, Harold Baer, not only stated that the scanning of entire books is necessary for indexing purposes in allowing ease of searchability, but also had strong words for the benefits that programs of this kind can have for readers as a whole, especially print disabled readers. Baer went on to state that this was new territory for copyright law, but that the project fell within the scope of fair use.

For its part, the Authors Guild has not explained its position other than to argue that the massive undertaking goes way beyond the limits of fair use. No explanation was provided in the filing, only the notice of intent to appeal.

Battle Not Over for Google’s Digitization Project is a post from: E-Reader News

Newest Technology to Hit Books: 3D Printing

How-to books are nothing new. They teach readers to cook, tie knots, change the air filters in their cars, speak foreign languages, and more. But a new wave of books aimed at younger readers is working to teach skills and mindsets more through storytelling, and less through step-by-step instruction.

Now, author and designer Carla Diana has taken her passion for technology and put it to use in a children’s storybook that also offers up instructions and applications in the world of 3D printing. By following the story of a robot who is capable of making plastic objects based on its owner’s drawings–along with additional robots that can make metal and printed designs–young readers are exposed to some of the technological applications of 3D printing. Even better, the book features plans and instructions to help the readers make their own 3D versions of some of the objects found in the story, assuming the child has access to a home 3D printer or an account with MakerBot.

Diana is no stranger to trying to spread the word about the capabilities of technology. As a university professor and as the creative head behind the Simon humanoid robot, her passion has long been our robotics future. With this book, she brings the possibilities of 3D printing to an audience who is more likely to take advantage of that technology as they age. Within the book, she also actively encourages readers to “hack” her designs, even giving them prompts along the way to help launch their ability to adapt her objects for their own purposes.

In an interesting twist, this children’s storybook is currently sitting on several top ten rankings on Amazon, but none of those rankings are for children’s books, storytelling, or young readers. It seems that Diana’s intended audience may be reading, but it is the older crowd who are still in awe of 3D printing capabilities who are looking to build their own models.

Newest Technology to Hit Books: 3D Printing is a post from: E-Reader News